Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 two minute review
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 (UX582L) is a major step up from previous ZenBook Duo models and is aimed squarely at creative professionals who are willing to make a major investment in their craft. At this price point, you better be serious about your content creation, that's all we're saying.
The good thing is if you are serious about your art, whatever that might be, the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 has more than enough power to harness, as well as a secondary display that proves to be something more than a novelty.
Pair its performance with a stylish design and durable build and you're definitely going to turn some heads at a coffee shop or even the office. Ok, maybe not the coffee shop, since this thing is a hefty 5.16 lbs (2.34kg) and nearly an inch thick, so it's not exactly the most portable device out there.
A good bit of that bulk is its monster of a battery, but powering one gorgeous, Pantone-validated, 4K OLED display is going to stress even the beefiest of power reserves.
Adding a smaller but still functional secondary display right beneath it, both powered by an RTX 3070 GPU, and no battery stands much of a chance. You're going to be relying on a wall outlet more most of the ZenBook Duo Pro 15's life, most likely.
If that's a worthwhile trade off for the versatility offered by the Asus ZenBook Duo Pro 15, then this just might be the creative professional's laptop you've been waiting for. There certainly aren't any others like it.
Price and availability
Here is the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX582L) configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK
Graphics: GeForce RTX 3070
Screen (Main): 15.6-inch 4K OLED (3840 x2160p) Touchscreen, 0.2ms, 440 nits, Pantone-validated; (Secondary): 14-inch 3840 x 1100p, anti-glare IPS
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3) supports display, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x 3.5mm Combo Jack, 1x DC-in
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: 720p Webcam
Weight: 5.16 lbs (2.34kg)
Size (W x D x H): 14.17 x 9.81 x 0.85 ins (35.98 x 24.92 x 21.5 mm)
Battery: 92 WHr
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 (UX582L) is available now, starting at $2,299 / AU$4,899, and comes with an Intel Core i7-10870H, RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB GDDR6 vRAM, 16GB RAM, and 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD.
The model we reviewed, which has the same specs as above but comes with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor, 32GB RAM. For those extra features, the cost soars up to $3,099 / AU$5,098, and this configuration appears to be the only one available in the UK at the moment, which sells for £3,199.
This isn't the most expensive creative workstation we've seen though. The HP ZBook Studio G7 has a lower entry level price, but is definitely more expensive on the high end, as is the Acer ConceptD 7 and we'd argue that the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 is probably even more functional than those others, if not as powerful.
The design of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 is going to stand out regardless, but there are still a number of standout features that make it a laptop you will want to show off.
The chassis is a rugged, solidly built unit with an attractive celestial blue brushed magnesium-aluminum finish that is fetching to look at, which is a nice introduction to the rest of the world before it gets a peek at the secondary display that lifts up to a comfortable angle when the lid is open.
There isn't a whole lot of airflow intake on the underside, which might make you think this laptop gets especially hot, but we found that wasn't the case thanks to ample venting from the side vents and also from vents underneath the secondary display.
Speaking of, the display is taking up a good bit of real estate where the keyboard deck would normally be, so the keyboard and trackpad are pretty cramped down on the bottom half. Writing is the only creative content this laptop is not well suited for, unfortunately.
The laptop itself is pretty thick, coming in at 0.85-inches (21.5mm) when closed, and at 5.16 lbs (2.34kg), it's going to feel like a brick if you take it with you on the go, especially since you're likely to be bringing the power supply (which is an actual brick with some thick cords attached) with you wherever you go.
The included stylus provides a good response on both displays, so stylus wizards out there will get a lot of use out of it, assuming the AAA battery powering it doesn't run out on you. On the plus side, if the battery dies, you just need to swap out the battery and get right back to work. On the minus side, you need to swap out the battery to get back to work, and if you don't have one handy, you're dead in the water.
One of the biggest letdowns on the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 might be its limited number of ports, including the complete lack of an SD card slot of any kind. If you're a photographer or videographer, you'll have to use a dongle or wireless/cloud transfer for your work. The USB Type-C ports are also Thunderbolt 3, not the latest Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Here is how the Asus ZenBook Duo (2021) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Night Raid: 24,824; Firestrike: 18,199; Time Spy: 8,012; Port Royale: 4,991
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p, Ultra Quality): 64 fps; (1080p, Low Quality): 195 fps
Metro: Exodus (1080p, Ultra Quality w/ ray tracing): 51 fps; (1080p, Ultra Quality w/o ray tracing): 59 fps; (1080p, Low Quality): 134 fps
Blender (Fishy Cat): 6 minutes 21 seconds; (Classroom): 12 minutes 33 seconds
HandBrake 1080p30 Encoding: 38.58 fps
PugetBench for Adobe PhotoShop: 812 points
PugetBench for Adobe Premiere: 596 points
GeekBench 5 Single core: 1,308; Multi core: 6,944
PCMark10 Home: 5,780
Battery Life (PCMark10 test): 4 hours 34 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 4 hours 40 minutes
The performance of the Asus ZenBook Duo Pro 15 (UX582L) is one of its major selling points, though it is also one of the major factors keeping it from taking the creative crown entirely.
On the positive side, the RTX 3070 GPU and Intel Core i9 processor, helped along by 32GB RAM, provide some truly incredible performance on a host of content creation tasks. Opening more than a dozen high resolution photos in Adobe Photoshop and switching between them quickly while applying filters, editing, cropping, you name it was quick and responsive, especially for a laptop.
That said, there are better creative workstations out there, like the Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) that also has a Pantone-validated 4K OLED display, though slightly larger at 17.3 inches, and which can go as high as an RTX 3080 GPU, which solidly outperforms the RTX 3070 in the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 (as it should) and whose 64GB RAM scoffs at all your Chrome tabs and Adobe Photoshop canvases.
That said, there are also some truly premium mobile creative workstations out there like the Create G7 and ConceptD 7 that fall don't quite blow past the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 even though they cost substantially more and lacking the ZenBook Duo Pro 15's versatility.
All told, if the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 had the latest hardware with some more premium component options, like an RTX 3080, it wouldn't be a contest, but some creative professionals like 3D animators or game developers will find more powerful options on the market better suited toward their work, even though it might cost a bit more.
The Asus ZenBook Duo Pro 15 (UX582L) might have a 92WHr battery, but it's still not going to last very long running two 4K OLED displays, especially without an 11th-Gen Intel processor with Intel Evo certification.
To its credit, the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 had pretty consistent battery performance regardless of the task, lasting four hours and 34 minutes in our PCMark 10 benchmark and little longer at four hours and 40 minutes in our TechRadar HD movie test. It was our experience while using it for a few days that this was more or less representative across the board.
It's still not particularly good, so you won't be spending much time away from an outlet with this one, unfortunately.
Webcam and microphone
The webcam on the Asus ZenBook Duo Pro 15 (UX582L) is the standard 720p you get in even the best Windows laptops, so we can't really fault the mediocre camera quality – thin bezels come at a cost, folks.
What we will criticize it for is not having a physical camera shutter. Yes, you can press F10 to shut off your webcam, but if someone manages to break into your computer remotely, software controls are useless and they'll have full access to your webcam, with everything that implies. Not good.
This day and age, physical camera shutters should be the only acceptable option, and since plenty of other laptop makers find ways to make these shutters work on all manner of laptops, we'll continue to expect all laptop makers do the same.
The IR webcam is compatible with Windows Hello, on the positive side, and during our video calls we had no complaints about its performance.
The microphone is also adequate for the basic functionality we've all gotten accustomed to this last year and a half, but if your content creation includes streaming or audio recording, we really don't have to tell you that you're going to want to pick up one of the best USB microphones out there to get some better quality audio input.
Software and features
For a laptop this expensive, you shouldn't really see any bloatware, and the Asus ZenBook Duo Pro 15 (UX582L) almost gets there. There are only a few preinstalls on the system but these are the typical manufacturer specific apps like MyAsus or the Nvidia Control Panel. Otherwise, the system is mostly clean.
The big exception though is McAfee Antivirus, which is a simple enough uninstall (which you should do, it's barely hanging on at the bottom of our best antivirus software rankings), but almost as if it needs to remind you to uninstall it, McAfee uses obnoxiously-bright red desktop notification popups to try to get you to buy a subscription once the trial period lapses.
Frankly, it feels like the bloatware version of robocalls telling you your car's extended warranty has expired and that you need to call them back immediately. Why something like this is allowed on a $3,000 laptop is simply beyond us, but it's a bad look for a premium laptop.
Buy it if...
You want plenty of 4K screen space
The extra 4K screen on the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 isn't just a gimmick, it offers a functionality you can't get on any other laptop.
You want a powerful creative workstation
With an RTX 3070, strong Intel processor performance, and plenty of RAM, there's very little this laptop can't chew through.
You need a vibrant OLED display
The Pantone-validated displays on the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 offer a crisp, vibrant, and accurate colorscape for your graphic design or photo and video editing needs.
Don't buy it if...
You can't be shackled to a wall outlet all day
The ZenBook Duo Pro 15 barely gets half-day battery life, so full-day battery life will never be in the cards.
You need to type as much as you sketch with the stylus
The cramped keyboard and trackpad will take some serious getting used to for most people, and some might find the cramped keys and trackpad simply too tight to use effectively.
You're on a budget
The ZenBook Duo Pro 15 starts at $2,299, and its best model is just over three grand. This is a major investment piece.